Photoshop Elements 13 – Can not sign in to activate software

Why is it harder to buy legitimate software than it is to get a pirate version?

I have been using Photoshop Elements since the original version and have brought each new version as soon as it was released, but I think PSE 13 might be my last – not because it is a bad product, but because it is just too hard to register.

This is what happened. PSE 13 was released, so I download the trial, which gives me 30 days to organise buying it. Okay so far.

I buy a ‘Software Download Card’, scratch off the coating (which must have been the toughest scratchie I have ever come across) reveling the key, type it in to register the trial version – “Invalid”. Huh?

Read the documentation (okay, perhaps I should have done that first). The ‘key’ isn’t the serial number, it is a ‘redemption code’ which is a means of getting the serial number to register the product. So I follow the instructions and get the serial number. Great. The next step was where it all went wrong.

Enter the serial and PSE then wants me to sign in with my Adobe ID to activate. “Sure, no problem” I think. Click ‘Sign In Now’. Nothing happens. Start again – same thing. Google for help. Adobe has a very detailed trouble shooting guide that basically comes down to check the internet connection (Sorry Adobe, connection is fine). They talk about a “not connected to the internet option” but there is no such option in the activation process. More searching only found frustrated users trying to resolve this issue (which goes back to PSE 12) – no answers.

Login to the Adobe web site and check my product registrations and I can see PSE 13 is there. So that part worked.

Eventually I try a forum suggestion and rename the C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Adobe\OOBE folder. Now when I try to register it tells me that Adobe Application Manager is not found. More searching to find and download it. Once that is installed, suddenly the registration process is working and I think my problems are over – but, no, there’s more.

I sign in with my Adobe ID and it wants to download my software (wasn’t that the trial version?). So another 2GB download (which on crappy Australian internet takes a couple of hours) then it is finally registered and working.

Not counting download times, all this hassle took about two and a half hours (plus the time to go to the store and buy it). During this exercise I couldn’t help wondering that if I had downloaded a ‘cracked’ pirate copy it would have just worked. Now a lot of my software is paid products, but I am finding that I am increasingly using Free Open Source Software (FOSS) not so much because of the price but because of the BS vendors are making you go though to register.

Please consider the goals of the Free Software movement before making your next software choice.


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